A Lothario, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is "a man who behaves selfishly and irresponsibly in his sexual relationships with women. 'they are seduced by a handsome Lothario who gains control of their financial affairs." Oakland County Michigan divorce attorneys all too often come across cases where one of the parties' to the marriage has less than good intentions behind their nuptials.
What should I do if I think my spouse is using me financially?
The recent case of Johnson v Johnson, Unpublished Michigan Court of Appeals Docket No. 343661 (November 14, 2019) is an example of a case where the divorce court provided the wife some justice. The facts of the case, according to the court of appeals opinion, are as follows. In October of 2014, the plaintiff's (the wife in the divorce case, hereinafter referred to as "W") husband of 23 years passed away. W and her soon-to-be-new-husband (hereinafter referred to as H) went on their first date on or about February 28, 2016. During that first date, defendant asked plaintiff about her steady employment and considerable income, and also learned that she owned her home free and clear. Five days later, on March 4, 2016, plaintiff and defendant married in a courthouse wedding before a justice of the peace. According to W, H did not allow her to tell anyone, including her children, about the wedding.
Very shortly thereafter, at H's insistence, W executed a quitclaim deed naming H co-owner of her home. H quit his job shortly after the marriage and property transfer, and did not work regularly for the majority of the parties' marriage. This was in spite of his holding a bachelor's degree in business, a real estate license, and a commercial driver's license (CDL). On H's insistence, the couple agreed to sell W's home and used the proceeds from the sale ($175,000) toward the purchase of another property in Ypsilanti. H separately contributed $10,000 toward purchasing the Ypsilanti property. Between March 4, 2016 and when the parties separated in August 2017, W contributed approximately $100,000, by virtue of her income, to the marital estate. H, on the other hand, contributed between $40,000 and $50,000 to the marital estate from his income, which he gained from various jobs and unemployment. H also contributed $56,000 into a joint checking account, which he had gained from the sale of property he owned in Ohio. W filed for divorce for a variety of reasons and obtained a Personal Protection order against H because of his alleged behaviors.
The divorce court awarded W 100% of the proceeds ($155,000) from the sale of the home. The court based this upon its finding that H preyed on W while she was emotionally vulnerable following the loss of her husband, and took advantage of her emotional state to convince her to marry him in order to benefit himself financially. Then, once married, H emotionally abused W to try to keep her locked in the marriage, and that this abuse continued throughout the divorce proceedings. H appealed but the Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court's finding and pointed out that while W was awarded 100% of the proceeds from the sale of the home, she still lost far more money and other finances relative to her position before the marriage than H did.
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If you're considering getting divorced or have questions about any aspect of family law, tCameron C. Goulding Family Law and Mediation P.L.C. can help you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
From our office in Rochester, Michigan, we practice exclusively in the area of family law and provide legal services to families throughout Oakland, Macomb, Genesee, Livingston, Lapeer and Wayne counties.